Do you have a construction payment issue or contract dispute in Los Angles? Should you contact a construction attorney, and if so, who? In this article, we cover some of the highest-ranked and best-reviewed construction lawyers in Los Angeles County California.
It can be tough to know which websites to trust and which construction lawyer will best fit your particular situation. It costs a lot of money to hire a good attorney, but it costs a lot more to hire a bad one. Choosing a lawyer that is a good fit for your business needs is a big decision and you don’t want to make a mistake and then have to start over with someone else.
Although you can’t believe everything you see on the internet, it’s the next best thing after personal recommendations from your friends, family, and peers. If you don’t have a good recommendation it can be daunting to look for reliable information on the web. We have done some in-depth research to find some of the best construction lawyers in Los Angeles, California.
Baker & Associates
Scott L. Baker is located in LA and handles a wide range of business and construction legal issues, including construction litigation, intellectual property, trade secrets, insurance-related matters, business, construction, and employment contracts. His website talks about his extensive use of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration, to help keep costs down and try to resolve matters before they go to court.
Baker has been practicing law since 1985 and was licensed in California in 1987. He has favorable reviews on both Avvo and Lawyers.com and has been recognized repeatedly by his peers as an exceptional attorney. Reviewers mentioned his superior knowledge, “bedside manner” with clients, and his ability to settle issues before they go to court. These are great qualities to find in the attorney world, especially when dealing with such stressful issues.
In several client reviews he was given five stars. Clients say he does his research, listens to his clients, and is willing to educate his clients so they can avoid future issues. This can help save a company future legal issues and costs.
Hammons & Baldino LLP
Wallace Hammons is a construction and real estate lawyer who has been practicing in California since 2001. His firm, located in Torrance, focuses on construction defect litigation, but also has experience with mechanics liens, bidding disputes, contracts, and claims.
His firm has several reviews on their web site and on Avvo, all positive. Client reviews say Hammons is “knowledgeable, approachable, straight forward, and a strong advocate for my legal issues,” and that he provided “an aggressive and cost-effective defense of construction defect claims.”
Peer reviews say Hammons is the attorney to handle construction and real estate matters, with many providing referrals to him. He is said to be knowledgeable, easy to work with, and “creative and tenacious.” His abilities to keep costs in mind, look for alternatives, and be aggressive in representing his clients would make him a great attorney to work with.
Mass | Montes LLC
Christopher Mass is an experienced construction attorney who has been practicing in California since 1991. Mass is an accomplished construction attorney in LA who handles business matters, employee handbooks, and other legal issues, as well as construction defect litigation, mechanics liens, and contract negotiation.
According to the firm’s website, “We strive to implement cost-effective and innovative solutions to each construction-related problem, but remain well equipped to negotiate, mediate and, when necessary, litigate a resolution on your behalf.” Having an attorney that is not solely focused on litigation as the only method of settlement will help keep costs down and will speed up the process of getting paid.
According to reviews on Avvo, Mass is a detailed litigator, who asks lots of questions, and returns phone calls regularly and quickly. This is hard to find as most attorneys are so busy they have an assistant return calls or just don’t respond at all, and that can be frustrating when you are in the middle of a legal dispute. One reviewer said he didn’t charge for hours he spent researching laws in another state, keeping the client’s budget in mind. Since many construction firms operate in multiple states, it is important that attorneys either have experience in those states or be willing to learn about them.
The Ruttenberg Law Firm
Kenneth Ruttenberg began practicing law in California in 1993. He is an experienced construction attorney, whose services include construction contracts, claims, California mechanics liens, suspension of work, and defect litigation. According to the LA firm’s website, most of their cases are “complex condominium litigation and construction defects in particular.”
Ruttenberg has been on the California Super Lawyer list from 2014-2018, and he has several positive reviews on Avvo and Lawyers.com from both clients and peers. His clients say he always gives 100% or more to their cases, and he was aggressive with the opposing side, but understanding to those he represents.
The firm uses alternative dispute resolution when possible to settle disputes. It has flexible billing plans and will even take cases on a contingency fee basis. This can be a lifesaver to smaller companies or those working on a tight financial budget.
Celebrity clients include Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, and Mark Foster of Foster the People. These types of clients speak to the quality of his work and the reputation he has in LA. However, he might not be the best choice if you are dealing with smaller claims or don’t have the budget to hire such a prestigious firm.
The Horowitz Law Firm
Jeffrey Horowitz has been practicing in California since 1990 and spent some time as an attorney for a surety company before opening his own firm in Sherman Oaks. His areas of focus are real estate, construction, surety issues, eminent domain, and contracts.
Horowitz uses all the tools in his belt when it comes to resolving disputes and is cost-conscious when it comes to fees for his services. Reviews on Avvo and Lawyers.com are favorable, and his reviewers said he is well-respected and can explain legalese in simple english. Having an attorney that can explain the law in a way you can understand is important, as you need to know your rights and both need to be on the same page when it comes time to take action.
Do you need a construction attorney?
Before you go out and start making a bunch of phone calls to hire an attorney, make sure you take the time to sit down and think through exactly what services you are looking for. At Levelset’s Payment Help Center, folks in the construction industry post questions everyday and get answers from real construction attorneys in their area. If you’re unsure about how to handle an issue, posting a question in the Payment Help Center is a great way to get free advice and determine if you’ll need to officially consult or retain an attorney.
If you have been served with a lawsuit, you are certainly going to need an attorney. It isn’t wise to skimp on legal matters once a suit has been filed. Everyone needs to stick to their budgets, but remember that it could actually cost you more money to choose a lawyer based on price alone.
If you need a contract reviewed or written, it is probably best to engage an attorney, but you may not need the cream of the crop if you’re on a budget. It shouldn’t cost too much to review a document, and some attorneys may have a no-frills boilerplate construction contract they can send you that is good in your state.
If you are struggling with a payment issue, there are a number of alternatives other than lawyering up or going straight to court. Sending a Notice of Intent to Lien or recording a California mechanics lien are very powerful steps you can take to get paid without the help of an attorney. If slow payment and cashflow are a constant stressor, working with non-attorney lien & notice services like Levelset can usually be a good place to start when facing a payment issue. They are less expensive than an attorney and the remedies they offer are just as effective. Many lawyers will actually refer their clients to a lien filing service first, because a lien, if prepared and filed correctly, makes it easier for them to enforce or foreclose on the lien should payment not be received.
At Levelset we stress trying to work problems out before getting lawyers involved or filing a lien. Most attorneys will counsel you to try to work things out first, then come to them if negotiations stall or the other party is non-responsive.
When it comes to payment issues, in particular, the best remedy is to avoid these kinds of issues altogether with increased project participant visibility and document exchange. Levelset can offer payment help by allowing you to be seen by the parties issuing payment, exchanging the necessary paperwork, and talking things out if an issue comes up. With these strategies, you should be able to avoid the need for a construction attorney for payment issues.
If you still need help figuring out what to look for in a construction attorney, download our free guide – How to Find a Construction Lawyer.